Entry of HIV-1 into target cells requires binding of the viral envelope glycoprotein (Env) to cellular receptors and subsequent conformational changes that culminates in fusion of viral and target cell membranes. Recent structural information has revealed that these conformational transitions are regulated by three conserved but potentially flexible layers stacked between the receptor-binding domain (gp120) and the fusion arm (gp41) of Env. We hypothesized that artificial insertion of a covalent bond will ‘snap’ Env into a conformation that is less mobile and stably expose conserved sites. Therefore, we analyzed the interface between these gp120 layers (layers 1, 2 and 3) and identified residues that may form disulfide bonds when substituted with cysteines. We subsequently probed the structures of the resultant mutant gp120 proteins by assaying their binding to a variety of ligands using Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) assay. We found that a single disulfide bond strategically inserted between the highly conserved layers 1 and 2 (C65-C115) is able to ‘lock’ gp120 in a CD4 receptor bound conformation (in the absence of CD4), as indicated by the lower dissociation constant (Kd) for the CD4-induced (CD4i) epitope binding 17b antibody. When disulfide-stabilized monomeric (gp120) and trimeric (gp140) Envs were used to immunize rabbits, they were found to elicit a higher proportion of antibodies directed against both CD4i and CD4 binding site epitopes than the wild-type proteins. These results demonstrate that structure-guided stabilization of inter-layer interactions within HIV-1 Env can be used to expose conserved epitopes and potentially overcome the sequence diversity of these molecules.
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) vaccine development requires selection of appropriate envelope (Env) immunogens. Twenty HIV-1 Env glycoproteins were examined for their ability to bind human anti-HIV-1 monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) and then used as immunogens in guinea pigs to identify promising immunogens. These included five Envs derived from chronically infected individuals, each representing one of five common clades and eight consensus Envs based on these five clades, as well as the consensus of the entire HIV-1 M group, and seven transmitted/founder (T/F) Envs from clades B and C. Sera from immunized guinea pigs were tested for neutralizing activity using 36 HIV-1 Env-pseudotyped viruses. All Envs bound to CD4 binding site, membrane-proximal, and V1/V2 MAbs with similar apparent affinities, although the T/F Envs bound with higher affinity to the MAb 17b, a CCR5 coreceptor binding site antibody. However, the various Envs differed in their ability to induce neutralizing antibodies. Consensus Envs elicited the most potent responses, but neutralized only a subset of viruses, including mostly easy-to-neutralize tier 1 and some more-difficult-to-neutralize tier 2 viruses. T/F Envs elicited fewer potent neutralizing antibodies but exhibited greater breadth than chronic or consensus Envs. Finally, chronic Envs elicited the lowest level and most limited breadth of neutralizing antibodies overall. Thus, each group of Env immunogens elicited a different antibody response profile. The complementary benefits of consensus and T/F Env immunogens raise the possibility that vaccines utilizing a combination of consensus and T/F Envs may be able to induce neutralizing responses with greater breadth and potency than single Env immunogens.
A comparative evaluation of the immunity stimulated with a vaccine regimen that includes simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), interleukin 2 (IL-2), and IL-15 DNAs, recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara (rMVA), and inactivated SIVmac239 particles administered into the oral and nasal cavities, small intestine, and vagina was carried out in female rhesus macaques to determine the best route to induce diverse anti-SIV immunity that may be critical to protection from SIV infection and disease. All four immunizations generated mucosal SIV-specific IgA. Oral immunization was as effective as vaginal immunization in inducing SIV-specific IgA in vaginal secretions and generated greater IgA responses in rectal secretions and saliva samples compared to the other immunization routes. All four immunizations stimulated systemic T-cell responses against Gag and Env, albeit to a different extent, with oral immunization providing greater magnitude and nasal immunization providing wider functional heterogeneity. SIV-specific T cells producing gamma interferon (IFN-γ) dominated these responses. Limited levels of SIV-specific IgG antibodies were detected in plasma samples, and no SIV-specific IgG antibodies were detected in secretions. Vaccination also induced CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses in the rectal and vaginal mucosa with greater functional heterogeneity than in blood samples. Rectal T-cell responses were significantly greater in the orally vaccinated animals than in the other animals. The most balanced, diverse, and higher-magnitude vaginal T-cell responses were observed after intestinal vaccination. Significantly higher CD8+ granzyme B-positive T-cell responses were observed systemically after intestinal vaccination and in rectal cells after oral immunization. The majority of SIV-specific T cells that produced granzyme B did not produce cytokines. Of the immunization routes tested, oral vaccination provided the most diverse and significant response to the vaccine.
The development of a vaccine against human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) capable of inducing broad humoral and cellular responses at both the systemic and mucosal levels will be critical for combating the global AIDS epidemic. We previously demonstrated the ability of Newcastle disease virus (NDV) as a vaccine vector to express oligomeric Env protein gp160 and induce potent humoral and mucosal immune responses. In the present study, we used NDV vaccine strain LaSota as a vector to compare the biochemical and immunogenic properties of vector-expressed gp160, gp120, and two versions of gp140 (a derivative of gp160 made by deleting the transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains), namely: gp140L, which contained the complete membrane-proximal external region (MPER), and gp140S, which lacks the distal half of MPER. We show that, similar to gp160, NDV-expressed gp140S and gp120, but not gp140L, formed higher-order oligomers that retained recognition by conformationally sensitive monoclonal antibodies. Immunization of guinea pigs by the intranasal route with rLaSota/gp140S resulted in significantly greater systemic and mucosal antibody responses compared to the other recombinants. Immunization with rLaSota/140S, rLaSota/140L rLaSota/120 resulted in mixed Th1/Th2 immune responses as compared to Th1-biased immune responses induced by rLaSota/160. Importantly, rLaSota/gp140S induced neutralizing antibody responses to homologous HIV-1 strain BaL.26 and laboratory adapted HIV-1 strain MN.3 that were stronger than those elicited by the other NDV recombinants. Additionally, rLaSota/gp140S induced greater CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses in mice. These studies illustrate that rLaSota/gp140S is a promising vaccine candidate to elicit potent mucosal, humoral and cellular immune responses to the HIV-1 Env protein.
Neutralizing and non-neutralizing antibodies to linear epitopes on HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins have potential to mediate antiviral effector functions that could be beneficial to vaccine-induced protection. Here, plasma IgG responses were assessed in three HIV-1 gp120 vaccine efficacy trials (RV144, Vax003, Vax004) and in HIV-1-infected individuals by using arrays of overlapping peptides spanning the entire consensus gp160 of all major genetic subtypes and circulating recombinant forms (CRFs) of the virus. In RV144, where 31.2% efficacy against HIV-1 infection was seen, dominant responses targeted the C1, V2, V3 and C5 regions of gp120. An analysis of RV144 case-control samples showed that IgG to V2 CRF01_AE significantly inversely correlated with infection risk (OR= 0.54, p=0.0042), as did the response to other V2 subtypes (OR=0.60-0.63, p=0.016-0.025). The response to V3 CRF01_AE also inversely correlated with infection risk but only in vaccine recipients who had lower levels of other antibodies, especially Env-specific plasma IgA (OR=0.49, p=0.007) and neutralizing antibodies (OR=0.5, p=0.008). Responses to C1 and C5 showed no significant correlation with infection risk. In Vax003 and Vax004, where no significant protection was seen, serum IgG responses targeted the same epitopes as in RV144 with the exception of an additional C1 reactivity in Vax003 and infrequent V2 reactivity in Vax004. In HIV-1 infected subjects, dominant responses targeted the V3 and C5 regions of gp120, as well as the immunodominant domain, heptad repeat 1 (HR-1) and membrane proximal external region (MPER) of gp41. These results highlight the presence of several dominant linear B cell epitopes on the HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins. They also generate the hypothesis that IgG to linear epitopes in the V2 and V3 regions of gp120 are part of a complex interplay of immune responses that contributed to protection in RV144.
To characterize the correlates of protection from systemic infection in a vaccinated rhesus macaque (RM), RAt-9, which had been challenged sequentially with two related clade C simian-human immunodeficiency viruses (SHIV-Cs) yet remained aviremic for >5 years despite indirect evidence of cryptic infection.
To measure long-term anti-SHIV-C immunity, host genetics and gene-expression patterns for protective correlates.
Long-term immune reactivity was evaluated and identification of virus in RAt-9 was attempted by RT-PCR analysis of concentrated plasma and blood transfer to CD8+ cell-depleted infant macaques. Full MHC genotyping of RAt-9, TRIM5α and KIR3DL allelic expression analysis of PBMC, and microarray gene expression analysis were performed.
All attempts to detect/isolate virus, including blood transfer to CD8+ cell-depleted infant RM, were negative, and the animal maintained normal levels of memory CD4+ T cells in both peripheral blood and gut tissues. However, RAt-9 maintained high levels of anti-SHIV-C humoral and cellular immunity, including reactivity to non-vaccine neoantigens (Nef and Rev), up to 63 months post-initial challenge, suggesting chronic sub-threshold infection. RAt-9 expressed the Mamu A*001 allele but was B*008−B*017−, had a B13 serotype, and had increased expression of killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) previously linked to favorable outcomes of lentiviral infection. Elements of the gene expression profiling coincided with genotyping results. RAt-9 also displayed CD8+ cell noncytotoxic antiviral response (CNAR) activity.
RAt-9 is the first example of a virus-exposed, persistently aviremic animal that has maintained long-term, high-level cellular and humoral antiviral immunity in the absence of an identifiable cryptic reservoir.
AIDS; vaccine; SHIV; clade C; long-term immunity; prevention of viremia
We used the simian immunodeficiency virus mac251 (SIVmac251) macaque model to study the effect of the dose of mucosal exposure on vaccine efficacy. We immunized macaques with a DNA prime followed by SIV gp120 protein immunization with ALVAC-SIV and gp120 in alum, and we challenged them with SIVmac251 at either a single high dose or at two repeated low-dose exposures to a 10-fold-lower dose. Infection was neither prevented nor modified following a single high-dose challenge of the immunized macaques. However, two exposures to a 10-fold-lower dose resulted in protection from SIVmac251 acquisition in 3 out of 12 macaques. The remaining animals that were infected had a modulated pathogenesis, significant downregulation of interferon responsive genes, and upregulation of genes involved in B- and T-cell responses. Thus, the choice of the experimental model greatly influences the vaccine efficacy of vaccines for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
An optimally effective AIDS vaccine would likely require the induction of both neutralizing antibody and cell-mediated immune responses, which has proven difficult to obtain in previous clinical trials. Here we report on the induction of human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1)-specific immune responses in healthy adult volunteers that received the multi-gene, polyvalent, DNA prime–protein boost HIV-1 vaccine formulation, DP6-001, in a Phase I clinical trial. Robust cross-subtype HIV-1-specific T cell responses were detected in IFN-γ ELISPOT assays. Furthermore, we detected high titer serum antibody responses that recognized a wide range of primary HIV-1 Env antigens and also neutralized pseudotyped viruses that express the primary Env antigens from multiple HIV-1 subtypes. These findings demonstrate that the DNA prime–protein boost approach is an effective immunization method to elicit both humoral and cell-mediated immune responses in humans, and that a polyvalent Env formulation could generate broad immune responses against HIV-1 viruses with diverse genetic backgrounds.
HIV-1; DNA vaccine; Recombinant protein vaccine; Phase I clinical trial; Prime–boost
The recombinant canarypox vector, ALVAC-HIV, together with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) gp120 envelope glycoprotein, has protected 31.2% of Thai individuals from HIV acquisition in the RV144 HIV vaccine trial. This outcome was unexpected, given the limited ability of the vaccine components to induce CD8+ T-cell responses or broadly neutralizing antibodies. We vaccinated macaques with an immunization regimen intended to mimic the RV144 trial and exposed them intrarectally to a dose of the simian immunodeficiency virus SIVmac251 that transmits few virus variants, similar to HIV transmission to humans. Vaccination induced anti-envelope antibodies in all vaccinees and CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses. Three of the 11 macaques vaccinated with ALVAC-SIV/gp120 were protected from SIVmac251 acquisition, but the result was not significant. The remaining vaccinees were infected and progressed to disease. The magnitudes of vaccine-induced SIVmac251-specific T-cell responses and binding antibodies were not significantly different between protected and infected animals. However, sera from protected animals had higher avidity antibodies to gp120, recognized the variable envelope regions V1/V2, and reduced SIVmac251 infectivity in cells that express high levels of α4β7 integrins, suggesting a functional role of antibodies to V2. The current results emphasize the utility of determining the titer of repeated mucosal challenge in the preclinical evaluation of HIV vaccines.
The RV144 vaccine trial in Thailand demonstrated that an HIV vaccine could prevent infection in humans and highlights the importance of understanding protective immunity against HIV. We used a nonhuman primate model to define immune and genetic mechanisms of protection against mucosal infection by the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). A plasmid DNA prime/recombinant adenovirus serotype 5 (rAd5) boost vaccine regimen was evaluated for its ability to protect monkeys from infection by SIVmac251 or SIVsmE660 isolates after repeat intrarectal challenges. Although this prime-boost vaccine regimen failed to protect against SIVmac251 infection, 50% of vaccinated monkeys were protected from infection with SIVsmE660. Among SIVsmE660-infected animals, there was an about one-log reduction in peak plasma virus RNA in monkeys expressing the major histocompatibility complex class I allele Mamu-A*01, implicating cytotoxic T lymphocytes in the control of SIV replication once infection is established. Among Mamu-A*01–negative monkeys challenged with SIVsmE660, no CD8+ T cell response or innate immune response was associated with protection against virus acquisition. However, low levels of neutralizing antibodies and an envelope-specific CD4+ T cell response were associated with vaccine protection in these monkeys. Moreover, monkeys that expressed two TRIM5 alleles that restrict SIV replication were more likely to be protected from infection than monkeys that expressed at least one permissive TRIM5 allele. This study begins to elucidate the mechanism of vaccine protection against immunodeficiency viruses and highlights the need to analyze these immune and genetic correlates of protection in future trials of HIV vaccine strategies.
HIV infection persists despite antiretroviral treatment (ART) and is reignited as soon as therapies are suspended. This vicious cycle is fueled by the persistence of viral reservoirs that are invulnerable to standard ART protocols, and thus therapeutic agents able to target these reservoirs are needed. One such agent, auranofin, has recently been shown to decrease the memory T-cell reservoir in chronically SIVmac251-infected macaques. Moreover, auranofin could synergize with a fully suppressive ART protocol and induce a drug-free post-therapy containment of viremia.
We administered buthionine sulfoximine (BSO), an inhibitor of glutathione synthesis currently in clinical trials for cancer, in combination with auranofin to chronically SIVmac251-infected macaques under highly-intensified ART (H-iART). The ART/auranofin/BSO therapeutic protocol was followed, after therapy suspension, by a significant decrease of viral RNA and DNA in peripheral blood as compared to pre-therapy levels. Drug-free post-therapy control of the infection was achieved in animals with pre-therapy viral loads ranging from values comparable to average human set points to levels largely higher. This control was dependent on the presence CD8+ cells and associated with enhanced levels of cell-mediated immune responses.
The level of post-therapy viral set point reduction achieved in this study is the largest reported so far in chronically SIVmac251-infected macaques and may represent a promising strategy to improve over the current “ART for life” plight.
Functional cure of HIV/AIDS; Viral reservoirs; Eradication research; Antireservoir therapy; Auranofin; Buthionine sulfoximine; SIVmac251 infection; Macaque AIDS model
The detailed examination of the antibody repertoire from RV144 provides a unique template for understanding potentially protective antibody functions. Some potential immune correlates of protection were untested in the correlates analyses due to inherent assay limitations, as well as the need to keep the correlates analysis focused on a limited number of endpoints to achieve statistical power. In an RV144 pilot study, we determined that RV144 vaccination elicited antibodies that could bind infectious virions (including the vaccine strains HIV-1 CM244 and HIV-1 MN and an HIV-1 strain expressing transmitted/founder Env, B.WITO.c). Among vaccinees with the highest IgG binding antibody profile, the majority (78%) captured the infectious vaccine strain virus (CM244), while a smaller proportion of vaccinees (26%) captured HIV-1 transmitted/founder Env virus. We demonstrated that vaccine-elicited HIV-1 gp120 antibodies of multiple specificities (V3, V2, conformational C1, and gp120 conformational) mediated capture of infectious virions. Although capture of infectious HIV-1 correlated with other humoral immune responses, the extent of variation between these humoral responses and virion capture indicates that virion capture antibodies occupy unique immunological space.
Most HIV-1 infections are thought to occur at mucosal surfaces during sexual contact. It has been hypothesized that vaccines delivered at mucosal surfaces may mediate better protection against HIV-1 than vaccines that are delivered systemically. To test this, rhesus macaques were vaccinated by intramuscular (i.m.) or intravaginal (ivag.) routes with helper-dependent adenoviral (HD-Ad) vectors expressing HIV-1 envelope. Macaques were first immunized intranasally with species C Ad serotype 5 (Ad5) prior to serotype-switching with species C HD-Ad6, Ad1, Ad5, and Ad2 vectors expressing env followed by rectal challenge with CCR5-tropic SHIV-SF162P3. Vaccination by the systemic route generated stronger systemic CD8 T cell responses in PBMC, but weaker mucosal responses. Conversely, mucosal immunization generated stronger CD4 T cell central memory (Tcm) responses in the colon. Intramuscular immunization generated higher levels of env-binding antibodies, but neither produced neutralizing or cytotoxic antibodies. After mucosal SHIV challenge, both groups controlled SHIV better than control animals. However, more animals in the ivag. group had lower viral set points than in in the i.m. group. These data suggest mucosal vaccination may have improve protection against sexually-transmitted HIV. These data also demonstrate that helper-dependent Ad vaccines can mediate robust vaccine responses in the face of prior immunity to Ad5 and during four rounds of adenovirus vaccination.
The inability to generate broadly neutralizing antibody (bnAb) responses to the membrane proximal external region (MPER) of HIV-1 gp41 using current vaccine strategies has hampered efforts to prevent the spread of HIV. To address this challenge, we investigated a novel hypothesis to help improve the anti-MPER antibody response. Guided by structural insights and the unique lipid reactivity of anti-MPER bnAbs, we considered whether amino acid side chain modifications that emulate hydrophilic phospholipid head groups could contribute to the generation of 2F5-like or 4E10-like neutralizing anti-MPER antibodies. To test this hypothesis, we generated a series of chemically modified MPER immunogens through derivatization of amino acid side chains with phosphate or nitrate groups. We evaluated the binding affinity of the chemically modified peptides to their cognate monoclonal antibodies, 2F5 and 4E10, using surface plasmon resonance. The modifications had little effect on binding to the antibodies and did not influence epitope secondary structure when presented in liposomes. We selected five of the chemically modified sequences to immunize rabbits and found that an immunogen containing both the 2F5 and 4E10 epitopes and a phosphorylated threonine at T676 elicited the highest anti-peptide IgG titers, although the high antipeptide titers did not confer higher neutralizing activity. These data indicate that side chain modifications adjacent to known neutralizing antibody epitopes are capable of eliciting antibody responses to the MPER but that these chemically modified gp41 epitopes do not induce neutralizing antibodies.
Despite almost 30 years of research, no effective vaccine has yet been developed against HIV-1. Probably such a vaccine would need to induce both an effective T cell and antibody response. Any vaccine component focused on inducing humoral immunity requires the HIV-1 envelope (Env) glycoprotein complex as it is the only viral protein exposed on the virion surface. HIV-1 has evolved several mechanisms to evade broadly reactive neutralizing antibodies. One such a mechanism involves variable loop domains, which are highly flexible structures that shield the underlying conserved epitopes. We hypothesized that removal of such loops would increase the exposure and immunogenicity of these conserved regions. Env variable loop deletion however often leads to protein misfolding and aggregation because hydrophobic patches becoming solvent accessible. We have therefore previously used virus evolution to acquire functional Env proteins lacking the V1V2 loop. We then expressed them in soluble (uncleaved) gp140 forms. Three mutants were found to perform optimally in terms of protein expression, stability, trimerization and folding. In this study, we characterized the immune responses to these antigens in rabbits. The V1V2 deletion mutant ΔV1V2.9.VK induced a prominent response directed to epitopes that are not fully available on the other Env proteins tested but that effectively bound and neutralized the ΔV1V2 Env virus. This Env variant also induced more efficient neutralization of the tier 1 virus SF162. The immune refocusing effect was lost after booster immunization with a full-length gp140 protein with intact V1V2 loops. Collectively, this result suggests that deletion of variable domains could alter the specificity of the humoral immune response, but did not result in broad neutralization of neutralization-resistant virus isolates.
We have developed a high throughput platform to detect the presence of HIV-1 and SIV-specific ADCC-mediating antibody responses. The assay is based on the hydrolysis of a cell-permeable fluorogenic peptide substrate containing a sequence recognized by the serine protease, Granzyme B (GzB). GzB is delivered into target cells by cytotoxic effector cells as a result of antigen (Ag)-specific Ab-Fcγ receptor interactions. Within the target cells, effector cell-derived GzB hydrolyzes the substrate, generating a fluorescent signal that allows individual target cells that have received a lethal hit to be identified by flow cytometry. Results are reported as the percentage of target cells with GzB activity (%GzB). Freshly isolated or cryopreserved PBMC and/or NK cells can be used as effector cells. CEM.NKR cells expressing the CCR5 co-receptor are used as a target cells following (i) coating with recombinant envelope glycoprotein, (ii) infection with infectious molecular clones expressing the Env antigens of primary and lab adapted viruses, or (iii) chronic infection with a variant of HIV-1/IIIB, termed A1953. In addition, primary CD4+ T cells infected with HIV-1 in vitro can also be used as targets. The assay is highly reproducible with a coefficient of variation of less than 25%. Target and effector cell populations, in the absence of serum/plasma, were used to calculate background (8.6±2.3%). We determined that an initial dilution of 1:50 and 1:100 is required for testing of human and non-human primate samples, respectively. This assay allows for rapid quantification of HIV-1 or SIV-specific ADCC-mediating antibodies that develop in response to vaccination, or in the natural course of infection, thus providing researchers with a new methodology for investigating the role of ADCC-mediating antibodies as correlates of control or prevention of HIV-1 and SIV infection.
ADCC; HIV; SIV; NK; Fc gamma receptors; Granzyme B; high throughput
In a previous vaccine study, we reported significant and apparently sterilizing immunity to high-dose, mucosal, simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) quasispecies challenge (27). The vaccine consisted of vectors based on vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) expressing simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) gag and env genes, a boost with propagating replicon particles expressing the same SIV genes, and a second boost with VSV-based vectors. Concurrent with that published study we had a parallel group of macaques given the same doses of vaccine vectors, but in addition, we included a third VSV vector expressing rhesus macaque GM-CSF in the priming immunization only. We report here that addition of the vector expressing GM-CSF did not enhance CD8 T cell or antibody responses to SIV antigens, and almost completely abolished the vaccine protection against high-dose mucosal challenge with SIV. Expression of GM-CSF may have limited vector replication excessively in the macaque model. Our results suggest caution in the use of GM-CSF as a vaccine adjuvant, especially when expressed by a viral vector. Combining vaccine group animals from this study and the previous study we found that there was a marginal but significant positive correlation between the neutralizing antibody to a neutralization resistant SIV Env and protection from infection.
To determine the spectrum of antiviral antibodies in HIV-1-infected individuals in whom viral replication is spontaneously undetectable, termed HIV controllers (HICs).
Multicenter French trial ANRS EP36 studying the viral control in HICs.
Neutralizing Antibody (nAb) activities (neutralization assay, competition with broadly reactive monoclonal antibodies, and reactivity against the viral MPER gp41 region), FcγR-mediated antiviral activities, antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity (ADCC), as well as autoantibody levels, were quantified in plasma from 22 controllers and from viremic individuals. The levels of these different antibody responses and HIV-specific CD8 T cell responses quantified by enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot (ELISPOT) IFNγ assay were compared in each controller.
The levels of antibody against the gp120 CD4 binding site, gp41, as well as Env epitopes near to the sites bound by broadly nAbs 2F5 and 1b12 were not different between HICs and viremic individuals. We did not find significant autoantibody levels in HICs. The magnitude and breadth of nAbs were heterogeneous in HICs but lower than in viremic individuals. The levels of nAbs using FcγR-mediated assay inhibition were similar in both groups. Regardless of the type of antibody tested, there was no correlation with HIV-specific CD8 T cell responses. ADCC was detectable in all controllers tested and was significantly higher than in viremic individuals (P <0.0002).
There was no single anti-HIV-1 antibody specificity that was a clear correlate of immunity in controllers. Rather, for most antibody types, controllers had the same or lower levels of nAbs than viremic individuals, with the possible exception of ADCC antibodies.
antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity; FcγR; HIV controller; humoral immunity; neutralizing antibodies
The ALVAC-HIV/AIDSVAX-B/E RV144 vaccine trial showed an estimated efficacy of 31%. RV144 secondary immune correlate analysis demonstrated that the combination of low plasma anti-HIV-1 Env IgA antibodies and high levels of antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) inversely correlate with infection risk. One hypothesis is that the observed protection in RV144 is partially due to ADCC-mediating antibodies. We found that the majority (73 to 90%) of a representative group of vaccinees displayed plasma ADCC activity, usually (96.2%) blocked by competition with the C1 region-specific A32 Fab fragment. Using memory B-cell cultures and antigen-specific B-cell sorting, we isolated 23 ADCC-mediating nonclonally related antibodies from 6 vaccine recipients. These antibodies targeted A32-blockable conformational epitopes (n = 19), a non-A32-blockable conformational epitope (n = 1), and the gp120 Env variable loops (n = 3). Fourteen antibodies mediated cross-clade target cell killing. ADCC-mediating antibodies displayed modest levels of V-heavy (VH) chain somatic mutation (0.5 to 1.5%) and also displayed a disproportionate usage of VH1 family genes (74%), a phenomenon recently described for CD4-binding site broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs). Maximal ADCC activity of VH1 antibodies correlated with mutation frequency. The polyclonality and low mutation frequency of these VH1 antibodies reveal fundamental differences in the regulation and maturation of these ADCC-mediating responses compared to VH1 bNAbs.
Live attenuated SIV vaccines (LAVs) remain the most efficacious of all vaccines in nonhuman primate (NHP) models of HIV/AIDS, yet the basis of their robust protection remains poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that the degree of LAV-mediated protection against intravenous wildtype SIVmac239 challenge strongly correlates with the magnitude and function of SIV-specific, effector-differentiated T cells in lymph node, but not with such T cell responses in blood or with other cellular, humoral and innate immune parameters. Maintenance of protective T cell responses was associated with persistent LAV replication in lymph node, which occurred almost exclusively in follicular helper T cells. Thus, effective LAVs maintain lymphoid tissue-based, effector-differentiated, SIV-specific T cells that intercept and suppress early wildtype SIV amplification and, if present in sufficient frequencies, can completely control and perhaps clear infection, an observation that provides rationale for development of safe, persistent vectors that can elicit and maintain such responses.
Identification of optimal antigen(s) and adjuvant combination(s) to elicit potent, protective, and long-lasting immunity has been a major challenge for the development of effective vaccines against chronic viral pathogens, such as HIV-1, for which there are not yet any licensed vaccines. Here we describe the use of a novel adjuvant approach employing Carbopol 971P® NF (hereafter referred to as Carbopol971P), a cross-linked polyanionic carbomer, in combination with the Novartis proprietary oil-in-water adjuvant, MF59, as a potentially safe and effective adjuvant to augment humoral immune responses to the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env). Intramuscular immunization of small animals with recombinant Env glycoprotein (gp140) formulated in Carbopol971P plus MF59 gave significantly higher titers of binding and virus neutralizing antibodies as compared to immunization using gp140 with either MF59 or Carbopol971P alone. In addition, the antibodies generated were of higher avidity. Importantly, the use of Carbopol971P plus MF59 did not cause any serious adverse reactions or any obvious health problems in animals upon intramuscular administration. Hence, the Carbopol971P plus MF59 adjuvant formulation may provide a benefit for future vaccine applications.
HIV; SF162; gp140; adjuvant; Carbopol; MF59
Passive immunotherapy using anti-HIV broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) has shown promise as an HIV treatment, reducing mother-to-child-transmission (MTCT) of simian/human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) in non-human primates and decreasing viral rebound in patients who ceased receiving anti-viral drugs. In addition, a cocktail of potent mAbs may be useful as mucosal microbicides and provide an effective therapy for post-exposure prophylaxis. However, even highly neutralizing HIV mAbs used today may lose their effectiveness if resistance occurs, requiring the rapid production of new or engineered mAbs on an ongoing basis in order to counteract the viral resistance or the spread of a certain HIV-1 clade in a particular region or patient. Plant-based expression systems are fast, inexpensive and scalable and are becoming increasingly popular for the production of proteins and monoclonal antibodies. In the present study, Agrobacterium-mediated transient transfection of plants, utilizing two species of Nicotiana, have been tested to rapidly produce high levels of an HIV 89.6PΔ140env and several well-studied anti-HIV neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (b12, 2G12, 2F5, 4E10, m43, VRC01) or a single chain antibody construct (m9), for evaluation in cell-based viral inhibition assays. The protein-A purified plant-derived antibodies were intact, efficiently bound HIV envelope, and were equivalent to, or in one case better than, their counterparts produced in mammalian CHO or HEK-293 cells in both neutralization and antibody dependent viral inhibition assays. These data indicate that transient plant-based transient expression systems are very adaptable and could rapidly generate high levels of newly identified functional recombinant HIV neutralizing antibodies when required. In addition, they warrant detailed cost-benefit analysis of prolonged incubation in plants to further increase mAb production.
The current study assessed the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of various prime-boost vaccine regimens in rhesus macaques using combinations of recombinant DNA (rDNA), recombinant MVA (rMVA), and subunit gp140 protein. The rDNA and rMVA vectors were constructed to express Env from HIV-1 subtype CRF01_AE and Gag-Pol from CRF01_AE or SIVmac 239. One of the rMVAs, MVA/CMDR, has been recently tested in humans. Immunizations were administered at months 0 and 1 (prime) and months 3 and 6 (boost). After priming, HIV env-specific serum IgG was detected in monkeys receiving gp140 alone or rMVA but not in those receiving rDNA. Titers were enhanced in these groups after boosting either with gp140 alone or with rMVA plus gp140. The groups that received the rDNA prime developed env-specific IgG after boosting with rMVA with or without gp140. HIV Env-specific serum IgG binding antibodies were elicited more frequently and of higher titer, and breadth of neutralizing antibodies was increased with the inclusion of the subunit Env boost. T cell responses were measured by tetramer binding to Gag p11c in Mamu-A*01 macaques, and by IFN-gamma ELISPOT assay to SIV-Gag. T cell responses were induced after vaccination with the highest responses seen in macaques immunized with rDNA and rMVA. Macaques were challenged intravenously with a novel SHIV-E virus (SIVmac239 Gag-Pol with an HIV-1 subtype E-Env CAR402). Post challenge with SHIV-E, antibody titers were boosted in all groups and peaked at 4 weeks. Robust T cell responses were seen in all groups post challenge and in macaques immunized with rDNA and rMVA a clear boosting of responses was seen. A greater than 2 log drop in RNA copies/ml at peak viremia and earlier set point was achieved in macaques primed with rDNA, and boosted with rMVA/SHIV-AE plus gp140. Post challenge viremia in macaques immunized with other regimens was not significantly different to that of controls. These results demonstrate that a gp140 subunit and inclusion of SIV Gag-Pol may be critical for control of SHIV post challenge.
Vaccine regimens using different agents for priming and boosting have become popular for enhancing T cell and Ab responses elicited by candidate HIV/AIDS vaccines. Here we use a simian model to evaluate immunogenicity and protective efficacy of a recombinant modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) vaccine in the presence and absence of a recombinant DNA prime. The simian vaccines and regimens represent prototypes for candidate HIV vaccines currently undergoing clinical testing.
Recombinant DNA and MVA immunogens expressed simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)mac239 Gag, PR, RT, and Env sequences. Vaccine schedules tested inoculations of MVA at months 0, 2, and 6 (MMM regimen) or priming with DNA at months 0 and 2 and boosting with MVA at months 4 and 6 (DDMM regimen). Twelve weekly rectal challenges with the heterologous SIV smE660 were initiated at 6 months following the last immunization.
Both regimens elicited similar 61–64% reductions in the per challenge risk of SIVsmE660 transmission despite raising different patterns of immune responses. The DDMM regimen elicited higher magnitudes of CD4 T cells whereas the MMM regimen elicited higher titers and greater avidity Env-specific IgG and more frequent and higher titer SIV-specific IgA in rectal secretions. Both regimens elicited similar magnitudes of CD8 T cells. Magnitudes of T cell responses, specific activities of rectal IgA Ab, and the tested specificities for neutralization and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity did not correlate with risk of infection. However, the avidity of Env-specific IgG had a strong correlation with the per challenge risk of acquisition, but only for the DDMM group.
We conclude that for the tested immunogens in rhesus macaques, the simpler MMM regimen is as protective as the more complex DDMM regimen.
Vaccine; Immunodeficiency virus; Simian immunodeficiency virus; DNA vaccine MVA vaccine; avidity in protection
There is an urgent need to develop new pathogenic R5 simian/human immunodeficiency viruses (SHIVs) for the evaluation of candidate anti-HIV vaccines in nonhuman primates. Here, we characterize swarm SHIVAD8 stocks, prepared from three infected rhesus macaques with documented immunodeficiency at the time of euthanasia, for their capacity to establish durable infections in macaques following inoculation by the intravenous (i.v.) or intrarectal (i.r.) route. All three viral stocks (SHIVAD8-CE8J, SHIVAD8-CK15, and SHIVAD8-CL98) exhibited robust replication in vivo and caused marked depletion of CD4+ T cells affecting both memory and naïve CD4+ T lymphocyte subsets following administration by either route. Eleven of 22 macaques inoculated with the new SHIVAD8 stocks were euthanized with clinical symptoms of immunodeficiency and evidence of opportunistic infections (Pneumocystis, Candida, and Mycobacterium). A single but unique founder virus, also present in the SHIVAD8-CE8J swarm stock, was transmitted to two animals following a single i.r. inoculation of approximately 3 50% animal infectious doses, which is close to the threshold required to establish infection in all exposed animals. Because the three new SHIVAD8 viruses are mucosally transmissible, exhibited tier 2 sensitivity to anti-HIV-1 neutralizing antibodies, deplete CD4+ T lymphocytes in vivo, and induce AIDS in macaques, they are eminently suitable as challenge viruses in vaccine experiments.